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Flying high above the clouds, you hear a voice asking if everything is OK. In typical Coulson form he states that it looks like blue skies from here on out. BOOM! An explosion bursts a whole in the side of a plane and you see a body fly out. Looking inside the plane we see Coulson hanging onto a rope for dear life, the only thing between him and a 30,000 foot freefall to the ground.
We flashback 19 hours earlier, watching the Skye empty out her essential belongings from her van, asking the agents to take good care of it, “it’s my house." She takes her backpack and box of items onboard the agents HQ, a plane.
In the HQ board room, Ward tells Coulson that he isn’t comfortable about Skye joining the team, stating that she isn’t even an agent. Coulson says that’s why he’s hired her as a consultant. Adamantly stating that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, Ward says that she’s a risk and being part of the Rising Tide, having broken into their system before, makes it that much more of a bad decision, and that she doesn’t think like them. Coulson says that’s exactly why he hired her.
As Fitz-Simmons welcomes Skye aboard, back in the board room Melinda joins Ward’s objection to Skye being on board, questioning Coulson’s decision to not only have two people that haven’t ever seen combat with Fitz-Simmons, but adding a third as well. Ward defends the decision for Fitz-Simmons, at least being trained S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists, but objects to having a “tag-along hacker” join the team. Coulson quickly interrupts saying that it’s his call, noting that Ward objects but needs to get over it. “We’ve been called in for an O-8-4, we all know what that means,” Ward says. “Yes we do,” Coulson says. “We don’t know what that means.”
Fitz-Simmons explain to Skye that this isn’t like any other plane, nicknaming it “the bus." They show Skye to her bunk where she can put her things. Ward abruptly gives Skye a pamphlet about the emergency exits and procedures. Coulson comes to welcome Skye, letting her know that Nick Fury gave him the bus as token of good will during his recovery from the Battle of New York. As they buckle up for take-off, Skye asks where they are going. Coulson responds that they are headed to Peru, that an “O-8-4” is an object of unknown origin, stating the last one was turned out to be pretty interesting…a hammer.
After landing in Peru, the team drives to an Incan archaeological site in Llactapata, Peru. Seeing tire tracks where they past, Ward is cautious about being the only ones there. Melinda also thinks they are too out in the open and vulnerable, looking for somewhere better to park the vehicle.
As Coulson and Skye walk up to the site, an ancient Incan temple, Skye offers to post on the internet warning about how the O-8-4 may be dangerous and a threat to the people who live around it. Coulson informs her that he wants to keep it quiet and contained, that if need be, she needs to post about something else, a diversion to throw the public off track of what is really going on. “Everything that I’m against," Skye says. Coulson with a resounding “Yep” walks ahead of a frustrated Skye who stands there questioning her purpose to the team.
Coulson talks to the archaeologist who says that they’ve discovered something in the ruins that shouldn’t really exist in there. He leads Coulson, along with Fitz-Simmons and Skye, to where a metal object is stuck in the ancient wall, glowing ominously. As Fitz-Simmons unleash their flying scanning devices, Coulson advises the archaeologist to evacuate everyone in the surrounding area until they can tell exactly what they are dealing with. The scanners pick up readings of the placement of the object in the structure suggesting that it’s over 1500 years old, predating the temple itself by 500 years, but Fitz is quick to point out that the shape and design of the object suggests it might be German made.
Ward and Melinda outside of the temple, suspect there are not alone. They quickly find out their hunch is right as they take out 4 armed militants, only to be surrounded by their friends. Inside Coulson is radioed by Ward that there is something going on, Coulson steps out speaking in Spanish stating that this is an international matter, as Ward and Melinda are at a stand-off holding 3 men at gunpoint. A woman who seems to be leading the troops steps forward. “Phillip?” “Camilla?” Coulson responds. Obviously old friends, Ward and Melinda release the soldiers and all firearms are withdrawn. As Commondante Camilla Reyes (Leanor Varela) kisses Coulson on the cheeks, we quickly see the chemistry between the two and realize they were more than just friends.
As Camilla and Coulson take about ownership of the object, Peruvian rebels come out attacking the soldiers and the agents. Against the advice of Fitz, Ward pulls out the object from the wall. Surrounded by the rebels, Coulson tells Camilla to have her troops duck as Ward leaps in front of the temple slamming a metal rod in the ground, creating a shock wave knocking down the rebels. One manages to quickly get up and fires at Ward, thankfully only hitting Melinda’s truck that pulls in front of the gunfire just in time. Ward, Skye and Fitz-Simmons jump into the truck to escape back to the bus, as Coulson and Camilla, along with her surviving soldiers, do the same.
They all narrowly escape the rebels and finally are on the bus. Still out of breath, Fitz explains that the O-8-4 is actually fueled by tesseract technology (“Hydra, WWII, Captain America!”) and contains lethal amounts of gamma radiation.
As they head back to the States, Camilla suggests to Coulson that they land at a Peruvian airfield, but he insists that they must get the object to a S.H.I.E.L.D. containment base. Ward and Fitz argue about taking the object out of the wall and how unstable it is. As Coulson joins and stops the disagreement, Skye suggests, jokingly, that even though she’s not a rocket scientist, she should be the team captain. As Ward and Fitz-Simmons continue to argue, Coulson interrupts to point out that Ward can speak six different languages, Simmons has two PhDs in fields he can’t pronounce, and Fitz is a rocket scientist, and that they need to work it out.
Fitz-Simmons, with virtual technology, dissected the 0-8-4 and realize how unstable it is, that it can be used as a weapon, and it triggered could melt through anything, including an airplane.
Making a peace offering, Skye offers Ward a drink, and tries to explain her empathy for the Peruvian rebels, explaining it’s not much different than the Rising Tide; a group of people that may have been at odds but find a common ground and come together as a group for a cause. As they share a moment, Ward realizes the Camilla’s troops may be planning to take over the plane. Skye notices the plane is turning but Ward explains they have to follow a specific flight plan due to flying in restricted airspace.
Upstairs, Camilla tries to seduce Coulson, but Coulson is quick to point out that he knows that they are planning on over throwing the ship. Coulson states that he thinks Ward is already aware of their plan and her men have 20 seconds to get to Melinda before Ward does. Downstairs, the troops attack Ward. It’s too late to save Melinda as one of the soldiers drills a hole through the cockpit door, releasing a knock-out gas. The Fitz is taken hostage by one of the soldiers, while Coulson is left to ask Camilla when she decided to turn against him after being allies. “As soon as I saw your team,” she replies. Fitz being held at knife point has no choice but to surrender.
Needing Coulson to verify the new route to the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Camilla has him upstairs with her. Pulling on his feelings for his team, Camilla states that if he doesn’t do it, she will open the door to the cargo hold where the rest of the team sits tied up.
In the cargo hold, Ward, Skye, Fitz-Simmons and Melinda try to figure out how to escape. Though they have had their disagreements, they realize they need to work together in order to survive.
Camilla explains to Coulson that she knew the fuel cell is a weapon, and that the Peruvian government commissioned it decades ago. She goes on to say that after the fall of Hydra many scientists followed their Nazi friends to her side of the world, and at one point the weapon was lost during a battle in the jungle and no one knew where it was…until now. Her plan is to use it against the rebel uprising and restore order to her country. Coulson tries to reason with her stating that they shouldn’t be fighting but working together.
The team in the cargo hold come up with a lofty plan but still don’t know how to even get out of the ropes they are tied up in. A loud crack is heard and Fitz asks, “What in the hell was that?" Ward realizes Melinda has dislocated her wrist in order to break free. She quickly takes out a guard who comes down to check on them, snaps her wrist back into place and calmly asks the rest of the team “What’s next?”
Camilla reminisces with Coulson about when they met 11 years ago, about how he had 100 men at his disposal. Coulson interrupts saying that now he has a hand-picked team, and that they are just as good. Camilla dismisses his comment saying that surrounding himself with youthful, good looking agents, using his plane as man-cave, are all just part of a mid-life crises. She says that he assembled the team to seem relevant. Coulson says that they don’t need him, they just need time to become a real team. “Time is not a luxury that they have” Camilla says. “No, you’ve given them something much better,“ Coulson says. “A common enemy.”
Melinda crashes through the glass doors to the lab from the cargo hold. They all gather up the materials they need to execute their plan. Fitz sends up one of his remote control scanners through the ventilation shaft up to where they are holding Coulson.
As Coulson is just about to untie his hands from the pole he is tied to, he notices the remote control scanner hovering over the fuel cell and quickly ties himself back up. Back to where we started, the voice from S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters comes over asking to verify the different course, and asks if they are all OK. “Yeah, we’ll all good” he says. “It’s going to be blue skies from here on out."
The team stands by the locked doors that open to the upstairs level of the plane, Fitz remotely fires the fuel cell and blasts a hole in the side of the plane, causing the doors to open. With their plan figured out, Ward taking out the soldiers and Skye with Fitz-Simmons getting to the 0-8-4, the make their way upstairs.
With wind whipping throughout, Ward takes on two soldiers, holding them off long enough for Skye and Fitz-Simmons, all tied together in order not to get sucked out of the hole, make their way to the 0-8-4. Melinda takes out the soldier piloting the plane taking back control. Coulson saves Camilla from an untimely demise from 30,000 feet while, tying her hands around the pole. With a different plan in mind now, Skye unhooks herself from Fitz-Simmons telling them, “Trust me."
Fitz-Simmons try to make their way back to safety only to meet with a soldier grabbing onto the chain that is holding them together. Skye makes her way to an “Emergency Only” cabinet, dragging out a yellow bag. Fitz-Simmons simply release the chains off each other, sending the soldier flying into Ward, and toward the open hole. As Ward tries to hang onto to a pole, he catches the soldier, but as he’s trying to hold onto his shirt, it rips sending the soldier flying out. Skye releases the cord on the yellow bag, causing the emergency raft to inflate and cover the hole, saving Ward as he loses his grip and catapults toward the now covered hole. Fitz advises that the 0-8-4 is still unstable and they need to get to the S.H.I.E.L.D. airfield, “The Slingshot," as soon as possible. Coulson walks over to Camilla and brags “told you they were good.”
Safely back on the ground at The Slingshot, Coulson inspects his car, “Lola” for any damages. Skye walks up and notices not a scratch to the car but states “you plane is totaled though. Hope S.H.I.E.L.D. insurance covers hijackings.” “Sure,” Coulson responds. “Under incidentals.” Skye asks Coulson what she really signed up for. Coulson explains a front row seat to the craziest show on Earth. Skye states that she didn’t really just how crazy and doesn’t understand why the 0-8-4 has to be destroyed. Coulson states it’s for safety reasons and people like Camilla would also be after it.
Ward talks to Melinda about how impressed he is with Skye, that she could be a real asset. Melinda says that if she were to become an agent, she’d need the right Supervising Officer, looking at Ward to suggest he do it. “Alright, I’ll do it” Ward says. “Just to clarify, you were talking about me, right?”
Fitz explains to the team that the rocket carrying the 0-8-4 will take 180 days to get to the sun, as he and the rest of the team sit at the end of the cargo hold’s open bay door. As they watch the rocket launch, Skye gets an encrypted text stating that Rising Tide is at a holding pattern and planning to go dark. “What’s your status?” it says. With limited time to reply, she simply texts back “I’m in.”
As teased and rumored of an appearance, we see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) yelling at Coulson for destroying the plane. “The team acted on my authority,” Coulson says. “Don’t talk to me about authority!” Fury says. “I have the authority to downgrade your ass to a Winnebago. I want it fixed just the way you found it! Don’t have Fitz-Simmons make modifications like...putting in a damn fish tank.” “Yes sir,” Coulson quietly responds.
As Fury leaves the plane, muttering, “talking to me about authority," Coulson speaks into his earpiece, “Yeah, we’re gonna have to kill the fish tank."